Blood from a stone

Posted March 15th, 2007 by Penny Wise

I swear, if Noel brings me another tomato I shall cry. He picked me another 33 yesterday and there are still mountains of them in the garden. It's just not in my nature to waste anything any more but I am really getting desperate as to what to do with them. Noel is taking them to work with him to give to clients and we're giving them away to friends and neighbours but there's still no end in sight. Noel thinks it's wonderful but he would - he just gets to dump the daily tomato mountain proudly on the kitchen bench before going off to do something else and leaving me to decide what on earth to do with them. The poor bloke can't do a lot right at the moment. For starters, he's started smoking again - six weeks after he stopped! What a mug. Liam is absolutely disgusted that his dad has broken his word and I had forgotten how truly foul cigarette smoke smells. Why on earth he wants to go back to putting that filth in his body is beyond me but I suppose we'll now be back to his weekly efforts to give up every Monday again. Mind you, I can hardly blame him for reaching for the smokes again lately - the weather here is downright depressing. I reckon NZ managed to squeeze in no more than six weeks of summer before the weather gods decided to give us both barrels and batter the country with storms. The dehumidifier has been switched on, the new blankets bought in the Ezibuy sales last year have been got out and the kids are walking around with their polar fleece dressing gowns over their clothes. It's March for goodness sake! Noel reckons if the decent weather doesn't make a re-appearance quick smart, we're all going to live in Australia. He'd better quit smoking again and start saving then...

Seriously though, thanks to my hubby we can barely afford to go to McDonald's, let alone Australia. In the space of a week, he has managed to spend all our money. ALL of it. Every spare cent. Not on a new car, or a 42" Plasma TV - not even on a romantic second honeymoon to Fiji - but on cows. Yes, you have read right - cows. I suppose I shouldn't be totally surprised, I knew we needed to buy more stock, I just wasn't expecting so many at once. I find it rather ironic that the man who berated me last week for increasing the kids' pocket money without consulting him is the same one who went out this week and bought 19 bloody great bovines without consulting ME. Moi, who is the one who diligently uses the Bill Payment System every month so I know exactly how much money we have and how much we need, whereas Sir has no idea. Moi who checks the bank accounts online every week to keep abreast of the balance, whereas Sir doesn't even know the passwords. 'You haven't left us anything!' I wailed on seeing the invoice from the saleyards. 'I know! Think of it as a CHALLENGE dear - we'll be forced to save. It'll do us good!' was his answer. A challenge eh? In that case, from that moment on I was up for it. The first day I was proud of myself. I forced even more tomatoes down my throat for breakfast than usual and suffered another round of zucchini slice for lunch so I didn't have to buy any more food. I went nowhere and didn't spend a single cent all day. You want to live off the smell of an oily rag mate? No problem, I can do that! The first thing I decided was going to have to go - again - was wine. There was none in the house and that was the way it was just going to have to stay. Nothing was going to bend my resolve of steel! Then Noel came in from work carrying a load of bags. 'There was a brilliant wine sale on in the supermarket!' he grinned, loading up the wine rack. Methinks I'm going to have to teach him the Eight Steps from the January newsletter and fast - he's too dangerous to let out on his own! Well - just because he had splurged another load of money on luxuries, that didn't mean I had to drink it, did I? No way, I didn't want a bar of it. Then, just a few minutes later my mum popped in bless her, carrying a bottle of my favourite White Shiraz from Banrock Station. 'It was on special - I picked up the last bottle for you!' Ahh, well in that case, that was different - that bottle was a gift!

At least I don't have to worry about spending money on getting my hair done anyway. After discussing cutting my own hair last week, I was amazed to see how many people immediately went and followed suit and I watched the Forum thread on Minimum fuss haircut you can do yourself with much interest. I was mortified to see that not everyone had a positive experience of cutting their hair this way and felt dreadfully responsible but was most relieved to see that others also reported great success with their ponytail haircuts. For anyone else contemplating doing this, I highly recommend checking out this thread in the Forum first!

I've said it many times but it's so easy to take our Simple Savings knowledge for granted. I've been watching a new programme on NZ television called 'Wa$ted', which shows a different family each week how they can reduce the size of their ecological footprint and save money at the same time. I must confess to being cynical though - thanks to Simple Savings I've heard it all before long ago. In fact, when watching the latest episode of a couple jumping up and down after managing to save $1,600 in a year, I admit to being downright scornful. 'Pah, is that all?' I scoffed out loud to the telly. 'You want to try joining Simple Savings, you could save way more than that!

PS: Must just point out one of my favourite hints which caught my eye this week - Play mat doubles up as toy storage. Too good not to mention, I wish I had known about this years ago - I am definitely going to try this out to save us tripping over all Ali's wrestlers!

PPS: Must also say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has sent kind thoughts and messages following the loss of Dudley, they are all much appreciated :-)

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